Major common bile duct injury and risk of litigation: a surgeon’s perspective. Am J Surg

University of New South Wales, Department of Surgery, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Bankstown, Australia.
American journal of surgery (Impact Factor: 2.29). 08/2011; 204(5). DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2011.06.009
Source: PubMed


Risk for a lawsuit for medical malpractice has unfortunately become part of physicians' daily professional activities, with a blowout in indemnity insurance premiums, especially in high-risk medical specialties. Common bile duct injury following laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a well-recognized and feared complication for surgeons because of its associated morbidity, and it also ranks among the leading sources of medical malpractice claims against surgeons in the world. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness within the medical community and in particular among specialist surgeons on the important threat they could be facing in terms of litigation in the event of an adverse surgical outcome following such a commonly performed procedure. There is a real need for open debate on this concerning topic, as the fear of lawsuits and exorbitant malpractice premiums are pushing a substantial number of medical professionals to practice defensive medicine, reflected by the avoidance of performing certain procedures or treating high-risk patients perceived to have higher litigation rates, or simply walking away from their current practices, creating a chronic shortage of specialized doctors in certain surgical areas.

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    • "(video laparoscopy) (2,3). Despite their low prevalence, iatrogenic BDIs are significant with regard to their absolute numbers (4) and are important in terms of health care costs (5,6); furthermore, they are among the leading causes of negligence claims against surgeons (7-10). "
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